August 15, 2014
Welcome to Michigan's Children's Early Childhood Action Network. We are using this network to provide timely information on a variety of topics related to early childhood issues in Michigan, with a focus on race equity and how early childhood is critical to the cradle to career continuum of child development, education, and economic success. If you have any questions about the information provided, please feel free to contact me. I welcome your input.
In this issue:
- What Are Your Election Priorities?
- Elections 2014 Update: What's At Stake
- Child Care Tax Credits for Michigan
- Great Start CONNECT Webinar
What Are Your Election Priorities?
As we turn the focus of the Sandbox Party from the primaries to the general elections, Michigan's Children would like to know more about the priorities of our network this election season. Please complete this short, 4-question survey to help us better identify issues that candidates need to be addressing in the coming months, and how we can help make sure that we all know where the candidates stand on issues that matter the most to our families and communities.
Elections 2014 Update: What's At Stake
Through the Sandbox Party, Michigan's Children worked hard to increase voter turnout at this year's primary elections. And though turnout was still abysmally low (just 18% of registered voters), it was higher than folks were predicting. Read reflections of the primary elections by our policy staff:
Michigan's Children is now looking to the general elections to ensure that the needs of children, youth and families are prioritized. Through the Sandbox Party, we have laid out a series of critical issues that we believe are at stake this election season -- issues that we know will improve outcomes for Michigan's most challenged children, youth and families:
The Sandbox Party website has laid out What's At Stake in an easy-to-understand fashion that includes the role of Congress and the State Legislature in each of these four areas as well as questions that folks can pose to candidates at town hall events and other face-to-face opportunities.
- Two-generation strategies that ensure children thrive while their parents move ahead.
- Early childhood opportunities that optimize investments in the Great Start Readiness Preschool program.
- Accessible, affordable high quality child care.
- Expanded learning opportunities beyond the school day.
Child Care Tax Credits for Michigan
Families need affordable, high quality child care that supports their children’s learning and development while parents work or engage in job training. Access to high quality child care can help stabilize parent employment or training and ensure that young children are building the foundation they need to succeed in school and in life. Unfortunately, high quality child care is not accessible to too many Michigan families -- particularly low-income families who struggle to make ends meet. One strategy to improve the quality of the child care system and to make quality care more accessible is through tax credits. Louisiana has a series of tax credits that work to increase access to high quality care for their most challenged families. Learn more about Louisiana's model and what it could mean for Michigan in our series of blogs on Louisiana's package of tax credits and how a similar model could benefit Michigan, or our brief Issues for Michigan's Children publication.
Great Start CONNECT Webinar
Join the Michigan Department of Education - Office of Great Start for a webinar on August 20, 2014 from 1:00 - 2:00pm. This webinar will highlight the new upgrades to greatstartCONNECT.org. These include enhanced child care referral search options for parents, a more efficient and organized approach to program and provider information updates and improved professional development searches. Register today.